View Full Version : Are Cman tools in general are better than chinese /taiwanese/ made tools?


Davaa
10-20-2010, 05:57 AM
Hello guys,

I am new here and this is my first post but I've done some reading here as I started buying some tools, mostly craftsman /all US made/. But after all these readings about craftsman quality control and the pass/fail thread, I eventually got to thinking if I am doing the right choice. Do craftsman hand tools in general better than any chinese or taiwanese made tools? If craftsman tools quality is that bad and not that much better than chinese stuff by a decent margin, then why should I spend the extra dollars for just the stamp on tool. My craftman tool collection is very small so far, so I can't make a comparison to justify my thinking. Should I continue buying this brand?

obsessive
10-20-2010, 07:07 AM
What seems to be the consensus here is that all of the reasonably priced (aka not Snap On) tool lines have good tools and not so good tools.

Here are some examples:
The Craftsman raised panel combination wrenches are a great value and haven't changed quality in over 30 years, while the quality of Craftsman raised panel ratchets has dropped significantly. Almost all Craftsman air tools have been outsourced for a long time and are low quality.

Harbor Freight gets a lot of discussion in this forum. Their Pittsburgh ratchets (the Snap On knockoffs) are consistently very high quality. People also seem pleased with their ratcheting wrenches (the GearWrench knockoffs). Their Pittsburgh long handle wrenches, though, have some sizes that are a very sloppy fit.

At a higher price point the Craftsman Professional line of tools seems to have a more consistent quality. At a much much much higher price point you have Snap On which seems to be universally regarded as consistently top quality, but definitely overkill (price wise) for a hobbyist or home mechanic, and there's even a lot of debate as to whether it's overkill for professional mechanics for anything but their most frequently used items.

This was a great thread comparing 1/2" ratchets, with the HF ratchet outperforming the CM ratchet by far. The pictures seems to be gone, but you can read the tests and results in the posts:
http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=69831

If you're rich and money is no object, then Snap On is great. If you're like the other 97% of us, then there are some great tools at great prices from other sources, including Craftsman and HF, but you have to do a bit of research to find out which are great and which are junk.

mrholeshot
10-20-2010, 07:10 AM
Not all China/Taiwan tools are created equal. Just like US tools there are great tools,good tools,OK tools and Junk. Craftsman has outsorced a good bit of it's tool line to China and Taiwan but some of the stuff is decent. Overall it's still one of the best bang for the buck tools on the market.

billymade
10-20-2010, 07:17 AM
Consider buying high quality usa made used tools; you can get things waaayyy cheaper, as the saying goes, once you use something.... it is USED! :) In general; used good quality hand tools perform the same as new, save yourself some dough and get more tools for your money! Check out the classifieds section of this website! :) If you choose Craftsman; the holidays are coming and many tools will be 50% off, many times, cheaper.... even then flea market prices! Good luck! :)

stereobbq
10-20-2010, 07:54 AM
nice link to the review.

i wouldn't group taiwan in with china produced products.

made in taiwan products are REALLY GOOD.

made in china is usually ranges from pretty bad to barely okay. when i was growing up i used to use old sockets, ratchets, wrenches that my dad had in the garage is when i first noticed night and day differences between tools made in the two countries. there's really no comparison that can be made.

made in taiwan is very comparable to made in usa, which is great for my wallet. i still buy american, just not exclusively since i've had great experiences with made in taiwan tools as well.

damn this is a hot topic around here isn't it :drool:

lil_TXRanch
10-20-2010, 08:14 AM
Craftsman has outsorced a good bit of it's tool line to China and Taiwan but some of the stuff is decent. Overall it's still one of the best bang for the buck tools on the market.

I have read this a lot on here but I can't seem to wrap my head around it. Everytime I go into the two sears stores nearest to me, all I see are the Made in USA hand tools around. I mean they have their China made product lines but all their everyday hand tools are still Made in USA.

Are these just old stock still going out....or....I'm just not sure, it's been that way ever since I first read the outsourcing comments some months ago.

HandyManny
10-20-2010, 10:29 AM
Hello guys,

I am new here and this is my first post but I've done some reading here as I started buying some tools, mostly craftsman /all US made/. But after all these readings about craftsman quality control and the pass/fail thread, I eventually got to thinking if I am doing the right choice. Do craftsman hand tools in general better than any chinese or taiwanese made tools? If craftsman tools quality is that bad and not that much better than chinese stuff by a decent margin, then why should I spend the extra dollars for just the stamp on tool. My craftman tool collection is very small so far, so I can't make a comparison to justify my thinking. Should I continue buying this brand?

About 98% of all my hand tools are older USA made tool from respectable and reputable makers. Some of those companies no longer exist either. Having owned and used good hand tools all my life I can tell you this much about recently made tool in this country. With many USA made tools these days it's really hit and miss. Quality just isn't what it used to be, and there are even some companies out there using the American flag only to justify their steeper prices while allowing their quality to be in some cases inferior to some Asian made tools. Granted there are still a few high quality tool manufacturers still making many of their hand tools here in the USA to high quality standards, though not all of them make their tools from all domestic raw materials.

Don't get brainwashed into believing that all Chinese or Taiwanese made tools are junk. I've been more than impressed with many Taiwan made hand tools and find in some cases their quality is at a level I haven't seen in common off-the-shelf USA made tools in years. I've used Chinese made bits that held up better than any current USA made drill bits recently. These countries are plenty capable of producing high quality tools and many makers in those countries are doing so.

There are many people who will see USA stamped on a tool and that's all they can see while convincing themselves that it's gotta be a quality tool because it says USA on it. Yet they'll overlook any flaw in it no matter how obvious it may be. There are the same folks who will see and use a high quality Taiwanese made tool by all measures in finish, fit, function, durability, etc. Yet even if that tool isn't even stamped Taiwan anywhere on it, all those people can think of is that it's made in Taiwan by cheap laborers , etc, and their image of the tool is tainted, even if it is an erronious image, no matter how high quality of a tool it may be. People get these unrealistic fantasy images in their heads of who makes their tools and where it's made and under what conditions their made, etc. Not sure where these images come from.

I bought several USA made Craftsman tools in the past and a few recently. To me the quality in their USA hand tools has gone down hill. Not to say that it's junk, but let me just say that I'm seeing much better quality in some brands like Duralast when it comes to sockets, extentions, adapters, and ratchets. I encourage you to buy the best quality you can afford in tools. It may take some buying and searching, but I think you'll find these days that Country of Origin really doesn't matter so much once you know who is good at what. Every country can produce quality and junk. It's just a matter of searching and using.

jaysonb
10-20-2010, 10:44 AM
I think that you can't go wrong with craftsman wrenches. Most of my sockets are craftsman. They fit the fasteners just fine, but the finish on them is not the best, and they seem to get rust spots on them easy. I am just a weekend wrench, and I can't afford all snap on tools, but I don't want junk, and I take alittle pride in ownership. I buy most of my stuff used so that I can afford nice stuff. I have snap on wrenches, ratchets, screwdrivers, and use craftsman sockets, and just fill in with snap on stuff as I come across good deals. If you want to buy new, kobalt stuff at lowes is made by the same co that makes craftsman, but is a nicer product.

Wakefield
10-20-2010, 10:49 AM
I think what has happened is that the best of the Taiwan tool companies offer more for the money than what you get with the cheapest American tools. I don't think they are as good as the high line American,German,or Japanese tools. Some retailers might not be trying to shout too loudly that their tools are imported.
I don't think that Taiwan tools and Chinese tools should be lumped together.
Craftsman flare nut wrench works much better than an open end wrench (on a brass fitting)but a Snapon flare nut wrench looks like it would hold even better on that fitting.

JayL
10-20-2010, 10:58 AM
I'm quite happy with most of the Made in Taiwan tools I purchased from Porter Cable, Bosch, Blue Point , Chigaco Pneumatic etc.. and even with those from Harbor Freight. Likewise I have no problems with most Craftsman tools I got that were Made in USA.

I also have China tools from the some of the same vendors and Craftsman but I feel the quality is still lagging behind those Made in Taiwan.

Here my side we have lots of Generic Made in Taiwan tools and quality is very good. Cheaper too but still Chinese Generic tools are even cheaper.

HandyManny
10-20-2010, 10:59 AM
I think what has happened is that the best of the Taiwan tool companies offer more for the money than what you get with the cheapest American tools. I don't think they are as good as the high line American,German,or Japanese tools. Some retailers might not be trying to shout too loudly that their tools are imported.
I don't think that Taiwan tools and Chinese tools should be lumped together.
Craftsman flare nut wrench works much better than an open end wrench (on a brass fitting)but a Snapon flare nut wrench looks like it would hold even better on that fitting.

True, in general I don't think you can categorize Taiwan and Chinese made tools together either. I will say that having been a big fan of USA made Proto hand tools all my life and having owned and used a great many Proto tools I can say that overall the old and new are pretty high quality. However I will say that comparing Duralast ratchets, sockets, extentions, and adapters to my Proto stuff, those Duralast tools compare quite nicely and dare I say even equally in many cases. I have noticed some flaws and neglect on the factories part on a couple new Proto sockets I bought recently. After all just know that most Blue-Point tools on the Snap-On trucks are Taiwan made, and Snap-On trucks are even carrying the Chinese made GrearWrench tools to sell to techs. I think the Taiwan made tools have caught up to many of our high end USA made tools these days.

Interesting thing about Japan is that they have always made high quality products, but back in the late 1940's and through the 1970's most Americans were bias towards them claiming that Japanees made stuff was junk. People began to realise just how high quality japanese made stuff really was by the 1980's. Anyone remember that scene from Back to the Future - Doc Brown says: No wonder this circut failed it says made in Japan. Marty replies: What do you mean Doc, all the best stuff is made in Japan.

Great scott!!!

woody 73
10-20-2010, 11:02 AM
Davaa welcome to the GJ for your first post you jumped head first into some cold water.

I like it when I hear stories from members that tell how much they like XYZ tools ,then I keep an eye out for that tool. Soon my tool box contains tools from every country in the world.

Foe example : Stay away the new craftsman ratchets the ones with the plastic parts and pick up a good old used craftsman ratchet or a truck brand ratchet. Keep reading old posts and soon you will avoid all the poor made tools in favor of better made tools that make the grade.:)

johnnybentwrench
10-20-2010, 11:06 AM
What do you use your tools for?
Why did you pick Craftsman out of curiosity? Name brand? warranty?
I have never had an issue with my craftsman raised panel wrenches they are vv. all of my sockets are vv too one or two have chrome loss around edge, but have been in constant use since new.
No matter what fancy dancy set I get plvmb,S/O,Blue line,Indestro. I can not grab anything but the Craftsman Wrenches:thumbup: however, I am not very happy with Sears & Roebuck these days.

dankicksass
10-20-2010, 11:20 AM
Gearwrench quality is at least equal to Craftsman quality. I can't speak ill of Stanley either, but many will.

stricht8
10-20-2010, 11:53 AM
Quality may be hit or miss with some more mediocre US tools like C Man but it's also hit or miss with a lot of the Asian tools. If I had to pick between the two I'd buy the C man. The price is comparable and oftentimes cheaper than some Asian brands. Fifteen years from now when the tools end up in a bin in some flea market we are going to grab the Cman not the Asian stuff.

HandyManny
10-20-2010, 12:36 PM
Quality may be hit or miss with some more mediocre US tools like C Man but it's also hit or miss with a lot of the Asian tools. If I had to pick between the two I'd buy the C man. The price is comparable and oftentimes cheaper than some Asian brands. Fifteen years from now when the tools end up in a bin in some flea market we are going to grab the Cman not the Asian stuff.


If the trend keeps going the way it is now, and I suspect it will, in 15 years from now the quality of more US made tools will be a joke. In 15 years I bet the Chinese will have a foothold in the automobile market here in the USA. It's already happening in Europe.

stricht8
10-20-2010, 02:34 PM
If the trend keeps going the way it is now, and I suspect it will, in 15 years from now the quality of more US made tools will be a joke. In 15 years I bet the Chinese will have a foothold in the automobile market here in the USA. It's already happening in Europe.

Well I just got back from Sears and confirmed what I heard about the polished combo wrenches being made in China. That is really, really SAD! The quality of the Chrome and stamping is awful. The chrome discoloration of the US made ones was really only a minor concern compared to the disgusting China quality we are seeing now. And what's even more infuriating is that they price hasn't changed! There is no way in hell that I would pay $100 for some cheap nasty ass China wrenches. I might as well go to Walmart and get the Stanleys for $20. Thankfully the raised panels are still US. I wonder how long that will last. Shame on you Sears!!!:puke:

Theloniousmonk
10-20-2010, 02:37 PM
Well I just got back from Sears and confirmed what I heard about the polished combo wrenches being made in China. That is really, really SAD! The quality of the Chrome and stamping is awful. The chrome discoloration of the US made ones was really only a minor concern compared to the disgusting China quality we are seeing now. And what's even more infuriating is that they price hasn't changed! There is no way in hell that I would pay $100 for some cheap nasty ass China wrenches. I might as well go to Walmart and get the Stanleys for $20. Thankfully the raised panels are still US. I wonder how long that will last. Shame on you Sears!!!:puke:

Or go to Ace and, afaik, get the exact same thing w/ "Ace" instead of "Craftsman" - Ace tools (taiwan & china) are not bad at all for the $$$. The brand new Ace Pro wrenches now have a satin chrome handle a'la Wright style. Last generation Ace Pro are full polish.

stricht8
10-20-2010, 02:45 PM
Yeah or go to SO, MAC, Cornwell, Matco, Wright, Armstrong, SK, etc and buy some real tools. We are really ruining our country buy outsourcing every damn thing to China. I mean, seriously, Craftsman has been a name we trusted for a long time do you would think that even though the wrenches went to China, the quality would still be good. How about a big fat no. They are just another garbage product that is being pawned off as quality to unsuspecting Americans.

Theloniousmonk
10-20-2010, 03:01 PM
Yeah or go to SO, MAC, Cornwell, Matco, Wright, Armstrong, SK, etc and buy some real tools. We are really ruining our country buy outsourcing every damn thing to China. I mean, seriously, Craftsman has been a name we trusted for a long time do you would think that even though the wrenches went to China, the quality would still be good. How about a big fat no. They are just another garbage product that is being pawned off as quality to unsuspecting Americans.

I agree... I'm not condoning the Craftsman move at all... just saying that somebody can buy the crap for less money elsewhere.

I have no problem w/ a china/taiwan company selling tools and people buying them, as long as it isn't in the name of a trusted American made brand.

Boiler
10-20-2010, 03:21 PM
I think craftsman as being the standard to exceed or be cheaper than is a thing of the past. I think I still liked their screwdrivers last time I looked, and I wouldn't mind a set of 12 point sockets from them for things I use 12 point on, but personally I think their wrenches are getting really junky, made in the USA or not. The raised panel ones feel lightweight for how big they are, and they have lots of chrome flash and sharp edges. I've also had my share that seemed to mushroom at the open end relatively easily, and some that have peeled chrome. Yeah, I can take them back for warranty, but at some point my displeasure of the experience of using them overrides convenience and "value".

Now being pretty strict about wanting to buy American, I've used few foreign tools more than once (sometimes thats as many uses as I could get from them). But I would say that the majority of the chinese stuff is junk, and the majority of the old taiwan stuff is too.

I strictly buy SK and Snap On now, with a mix of MATCO & Mac used items that I see for cheap. Personally I think SK is such a strong value that I really don't need a warranty at all, except to keep them accountable for what they do. It used to be as easy to just buy another one if you had a problem, which I seldom have. All that said, once I fill in my SK socket sets (about 80% done) I'll probably stick mainly to new and used Snap On. I think used (ebay) is a great avenue for it but you must really be pessimistic about listing details and ask questions, because people love to slip stuff past you. If they give little to no info and bad picture, assume its beat up...

Davefr
10-20-2010, 03:24 PM
Shop the tool not the brand. At one time you could get Craftsman and be assured that you were getting good quality and value. The Craftsman value proposition is nearly gone.

If you want to shop the brand, then SO is about the only one that's consistently high quality (but often at the expense of very poor value).

The best approach is to accept a mix of all brands, new and used, and various COOs. Do the research on each type of tool you need. This forum will help you get best quality AND bang for the buck.

Different brand tools will get along just fine in the toolbox.:)

stricht8
10-20-2010, 03:29 PM
Shop the tool not the brand. At one time you could get Craftsman and be assured that you were getting good quality and value. The Craftsman value proposition is nearly gone.

If you want to shop the brand, then SO is about the only one that's consistently high quality (but often at the expense of very poor value).

The best approach is to accept a mix of all brands, new and used, and various COOs. Do the research on each type of tool you need. This forum will help you get best quality AND bang for the buck.

Different brand tools will get along just fine in the toolbox.:)

Good advice. Well put. At least Sears has their new premium ratchet for us to look forward to. As others gave put it, they really have their priorities all screwed up. Premium USA ratchets and China full polish wrenches? What's up with that?

HandyManny
10-20-2010, 03:40 PM
Well I just got back from Sears and confirmed what I heard about the polished combo wrenches being made in China. That is really, really SAD! The quality of the Chrome and stamping is awful. The chrome discoloration of the US made ones was really only a minor concern compared to the disgusting China quality we are seeing now. And what's even more infuriating is that they price hasn't changed! There is no way in hell that I would pay $100 for some cheap nasty ass China wrenches. I might as well go to Walmart and get the Stanleys for $20. Thankfully the raised panels are still US. I wonder how long that will last. Shame on you Sears!!!:puke:

I have a set of metric midgit combo wrenches branded by Armstrong. Made in USA, the tools look like shit. Hell, the box ends on some of them look distorted and the broaching is terrible. Overall the wrenches look like they were stamped out of a sheet of steel with a cookie cutter and the edges were never smoothed. The chrome is nice, but the tools themselves look like hell. They don't fit all that great on fasterners either.

I figure I can always buy Duralast combo wrenches if I even need to replace any of mine in my existing sets of S-K, New Britain, Cman Pro, or Proto.

HandyManny
10-20-2010, 03:45 PM
As others gave put it, they really have their priorities all screwed up. Premium USA ratchets and China full polish wrenches? What's up with that?

Yeah I agree, it does seem messed up if you ask me.

alamerang
10-20-2010, 04:19 PM
My feeling is don't just look at country of origin as a direct indicator of quality. Almost every industry in the US has been spanked at one time by higher quality imported products. First one that comes to mind is the auto industry. Back in the 70s and early 80's US made cars had horrible quality. Toyota used to advertise back then that their cars could go for 100,000 or 200,000 miles without a rebuild. You were lucky to get 75,000 miles out of an American car before it was smoking and burning oil. Point is that US auto makers got lazy and people noticed. So they started buying imported cars.

Realistically, if all Chinese tools were cheap and horrible quality, why do they keep selling? If they were all that bad HF would be out of business no matter how cheap their tools are. Sure you can say they are "throw away tools" but then why do people keep saying that many of their tools take a beating and keep on going while their high dollar counterpart crapped out? Bottom line is look at what you feel is a quality tool and buy it. Might take some time to figure out what is quality and what's not but you'll get there soon enough.

3 at 8
10-20-2010, 05:31 PM
Buy the tool not the COO is the best advice anyone can give. Some is better than others; only you can decide if itís good enough depending on your own price point and what you feel you should be getting for your money spent. For example; in the Craftsman price range; two excellent non USA offerings are Toptul and Gearwrench. I wanted to have a matching set of sockets and just assumed for my non professional use and price point they would and should be Craftsman until I researched other options here. I thought; for lack of education, that Craftsman was my only option for a product at its price, and because itís warrantied forever and USA made it must be the best in its class right? Not necessarily. It doesnít matter where itís made. Great stuff can be made anywhere and junk can be made anywhere. I ended up with Toptul sockets and Gearwrench ratchets and couldnít be happier. I have been slowly replacing or in my opinion upgrading alot of my Craftsman to these two brands. Especially the Toptul as I think it is just the cats meow. Try not to be against the mindset to have various brands because you will like some of one's product better than others. Donít succumb to the ďTaiwan is junkĒ mindset that gets some peoples panties all twisted about. Buy what ever you want to from where ever itís from if you think itís the best product for you, your family or employment.

tkdone
08-29-2012, 07:44 PM
I have found shop the tool is good advise,we have alot of DIY,as I am. I have a mix bag of tools,because I do not use them every day,when I do they get the job done. I have a 18V B&D drill,I picked it up at a garage sale for $10 and after 2 years still going strong. I have seen many pro mechanics auto,RV etc who have tons of cman in their tool boxes. I just can not justify buying truck brand tools,when I use them so little,but I try to buy the best I can,at swap meets,sales etc

otis66
08-29-2012, 08:08 PM
Hello guys,

I am new here and this is my first post but I've done some reading here as I started buying some tools, mostly craftsman /all US made/. But after all these readings about craftsman quality control and the pass/fail thread, I eventually got to thinking if I am doing the right choice. Do craftsman hand tools in general better than any chinese or taiwanese made tools? If craftsman tools quality is that bad and not that much better than chinese stuff by a decent margin, then why should I spend the extra dollars for just the stamp on tool. My craftman tool collection is very small so far, so I can't make a comparison to justify my thinking. Should I continue buying this brand?

You should buy SK tools or Wright Tools. If you have to buy tools made in China/Taiwan buy GearWrench.:thumbup:

richfinn
08-29-2012, 08:18 PM
Hello guys,

I am new here and this is my first post but I've done some reading here as I started buying some tools, mostly craftsman /all US made/. But after all these readings about craftsman quality control and the pass/fail thread, I eventually got to thinking if I am doing the right choice. Do craftsman hand tools in general better than any chinese or taiwanese made tools? If craftsman tools quality is that bad and not that much better than chinese stuff by a decent margin, then why should I spend the extra dollars for just the stamp on tool. My craftman tool collection is very small so far, so I can't make a comparison to justify my thinking. Should I continue buying this brand?

Judge each tool on an individual basis, some Chinese/Taiwan tools are totally adequate and as good as any western tool.

Research each purchase on here and you will build a great "Worldwide" tool kit and find some real bargains.

If you want USA tools only, that seems totally possible if you live there.

I like particular brands that fit my budget, but thanks to GJ I,m more open minded to new stuff :thumbup:

Brownsfan
08-29-2012, 09:15 PM
holy old thread batman. He must have been scared away almost 2 years old and not another post. Craftsman is now Chineese and Taiwanesse tools themselves.

vga
08-30-2012, 12:45 AM
As I have posted many times before each and every socket that I own is a Craftsman, I have used them all of my adult life to make a living and I have yet to ever break one and I have no plans to replace them for any reason. I also own and use Snap On, Matco, Mac, Gearwrench , Klien and what ever else is in the box and The Cman tools hold up and preform just as well as any of the others I have listed . The RP ratchets are anther story, cant stand them. The RP wrenches are a great buy also and the quality has remained high as far as I can tell.. Great deals coming in the Dec time period.

rocco
08-30-2012, 08:12 AM
Well I just got back from Sears and confirmed what I heard about the polished combo wrenches being made in China. That is really, really SAD! The quality of the Chrome and stamping is awful. The chrome discoloration of the US made ones was really only a minor concern compared to the disgusting China quality we are seeing now. And what's even more infuriating is that they price hasn't changed! There is no way in hell that I would pay $100 for some cheap nasty ass China wrenches. I might as well go to Walmart and get the Stanleys for $20. Thankfully the raised panels are still US. I wonder how long that will last. Shame on you Sears!!!:puke:

just come up to any canadian sears - every tool is "imported" even teh raised panels and man, they are horrible.

theoldwizard1
08-30-2012, 08:24 AM
I was at my SIL's house a few months back and we needed to do a little work on his lawnmower. He had 2 cheap Chinese socket sets. We could not find one socket that would properly grip the bolt so that we could loosen it.

I brought the mower home and my Craftsman SAE sockets fit it perfect !